Nine EU states recognise Guaido as Venezuela's president, increasing pressure on Maduro

05 February, 2019, 04:55 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Venezuela's opposition chief Juan Guaido

Instead, major European nations had to scramble to individually recognize the Venezuelan National Assembly leader as interim president on February 4 after their deadline for Venezuelan regime leader Nicolas Maduro to hold fresh elections passed.

Seven EU states had given Maduro a Sunday midnight deadline to call presidential elections or they would recognise Guaido.

But with the majority of the military still standing with Maduro, is the country stumbling towards civil war?

Maduro has offered to call parliamentary elections; however, Le Drian insisted that only a presidential election could end the crisis "because it's a presidential regime" in Venezuela.

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"Why does the European Union have to tell a country in the world that has already had elections that it has to repeat its presidential elections, because they were not won by their right-wing allies?" said Maduro, interviewed in Caracas.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $53-million in new Canadian funding to support the needs of Venezuelans, including the three million refugees who have been forced to flee the humanitarian crisis in the country.

"The people of Venezuela have suffered enough".

"Individual EU Member States will acknowledge Mr. Juan Guaido, President of the National Assembly, as President ad interim of Venezuela", the proposed joint statement said, calling for "free, fair and democratic presidential elections". Critics of Maduro blame the Venezuelan government's mismanagement for the lack of food and medical supplies.

"Faced with President Maduro's refusal to organize presidential elections which would clarify, calm the situation in Venezuela. we consider that Mr. Guaido has the capacity and legitimacy to organize these elections".

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron said Venezuelans have the right to "express themselves freely and democratically".


"We expect to initiate an election process as quickly as possible and for this task he is the legitimate interim president in the view of Germany and many European partners", German Chancellor, Angela Merkel said.

Guaido's backers say he is the legitimate leader because he is president of Venezuela's congress, which they regard as the only lawfully elected power in the country.

Western Hemisphere nations were set to add to the pressure Monday during a meeting in Canada of the Lima Group, which includes 13 countries that have been vocal in denouncing Maduro. Ten EU countries have yet to announce their position.

The president also announced a campaign to collect signatures against US "interventionist acts" starting on Wednesday and said they would be handed over to the White House.

In an appearance later on state television, Maduro was especially harsh on fellow socialist and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, saying he would have "blood on his hands" if a coup is carried out against him.

"I ask the pope to put in his best effort, his will, to help on the path of dialogue".

He began to exercise authority for the first time this weekend, calling on the army to allow in humanitarian aid to a nation wracked by economic crisis. Already, the Bank of England has reportedly denied a request by Maduro to repatriate US$1.3 billion worth of Venezuelan gold being kept in its vaults.

Senior politicians were urged to rethink rules that require all 28 member states to approve diplomatic decisions in response to Italy vetoing a planned statement that would have declared the bloc's backing for Juan Guaido.

"I think we are at a very critical point in the history of Venezuela", said Alan Duncan, Britain's junior foreign minister, among a number of European representatives attending the Lima Group meeting.

On Monday, Guaido said the European Union needed "to act in unison so that the forces, who are still supporting Maduro feel all the weight of Europe's diplomatic and political pressure".

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